North Dakota State Auditor Josh Gallion today released an audit of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which states that the department violated state law by circumventing procurement requirements related to the “Be Legendary” logo and the overall brand refresh.
The logo refresh sparked criticism earlier this year when the contract for it was awarded to a Minnesota firm headed by a woman who once worked for Gov. Doug Burgum’s old Fargo software business.
The company was awarded the $9,500 job without competition because it came in below the $10,000 threshold required for additional bids.
According to the auditor’s report, “We found two temporary employment contracts were used to stay under the purchasing thresholds and continue the work from the original [$9,500] contract. These contracts should have been treated as one contract for services and bid appropriately following OMB procurement requirements. The total cost of both contracts was $87,162.50 which would require the Department to follow Level 3 procurement requirements.”
“Level 3” procurement means the commerce department should have solicited informal bids or proposals using the State Procurement Office Online System with the state bidders list.
In response, the Department of Commerce said it disagreed with the finding, stating the new logo refresh contract and the additional temporary contract workers were two separate actions. The original contract work was completed and the second contract was for additional work connected to the brand refresh but separate from the original contract’s “deliverables.”
The Commerce Department, however, said it will, “ensure there is a clear separation between contract deliverables and temporary employment arrangements in the future and that all procurement requirements are followed.”
You can read and download the full report here.